Advertising aimed at children is so prevalent in our lives that many people think it’s okay. But child-development experts for years have said that ads on kids' TV shows, for example, constitute an unfair assault on impressionable minds that aren’t old enough to appraise the sales pitch.

"Yes, we have no advertising"  Excerpt from Raffi's article in
the Globe and Mail.


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On Receiving the Outstanding Mentor to Youth Award from Shad Valley

I feel truly honoured to be the recipient of this award.

To be a mentor to youth is a great pleasure for me; I certainly get a lot out of it. And to think, not long ago many of us were singing Baby Beluga together!

My work currently is to promote a vision I call Child Honouring, to inspire a society that truly honours its young, and builds the social capacity needed for a humane and sustainable world.

For the last three years, out on the West Coast, I’ve had the pleasure of getting to know the youth and leaders of the BC Shad Valley program. I thank the day Jacquie Uhlman called the Troubadour Foundation on Mayne Island, asking us to partner with Shad. It’s been great working with Jacquie.

To all the Shad directors and staff, congratulations on your dedicated mentorship of our country’s young leaders, and on your commitment to excellence and innovation.

To the youth assembled here today—our dear Shadlings—my hat’s off to you, for your creativity, hard work, and perseverance. From the first time when some of us met on Mayne island and we sang together, it’s been a blast. I’ve enjoyed your company.

There’s no shortage of Canadians whose example can inspire you: people like Lloyd Axworthy and Louise Arbour, among others, are making remarkable contributions to the security of the global village… and people like Charlie Coffey, last year’s Shad award recipient, a strong advocate of early childhood development.

You and I live in interesting times, perilous times, times which urgently need our full humanity. Today, 6 billion souls worldwide live in a colossal dilemma: on a planet whose finite resources are being stripped by human greed, and whose life support systems—from boreal forests to coral reefs—are severely stressed.

The next 20 to 25 years may be the decisive time to do all that we can: to move from a bottom line culture where money rules, to a triple bottom line society where responsible finance and ethical investments go hand in hand with social and environmental considerations; to change unsustainable habits into sustainable practices. As Nelson Mandela said, to “turn this world around, for the children.”

It’s not only ecologists like Lester Brown who are alarmed by the state of the world: it’s the Union of Concerned Scientists, entrepreneurs Ray Anderson & Maurice Strong, economists Hazel Henderson & Herman Daley, systems thinkers Riane Eisler and Fritjof Capra, psychiatrists like Stanley Greenspan, and luminaries like UN peace envoy Jane Goodall…

Many of them say we have perhaps but one generation to decisively set humanity’s course, one chance to change our course from destruction to restoration, one chance to profoundly alter the alchemy of relations in our personal, cultural and planetary lives.

In Harry Potter terms, what we need is Wizards—in the Muggle world of unsustainable commerce, we need the best wizards we can find.

At this defining moment in human history, we are called to live as transcendent beings: in touch with our own feelings and needs, with empathy for the feelings and needs of others, and respectful of the universal needs of ALL of God’s children.

In our personal lives, we are called to be emotionally intelligent, conscious of our life choices, and active in building healthy communities. In our cultural lives, we are called to know our interdependence with others, and to make wise choices so that they too may thrive. As planetary beings, we are called to respect and emulate Nature’s co-operative ways, to know our identity as children of one planetary mother, to feel the awe that astronauts have felt in the darkness of space—a reverence for our blue-white planet.

In many countries, millions are marching to the beat of a different possible world, one that works for all its inhabitants, a circle where we all can belong, a compassionate world, truly fit for children… for the children YOU might decide to have one day.

And so I would say to you: as entrepreneurs, engineers, & scientists: you can be for hire, but don’t be for sale. Direct your ingenuity towards sustainable life-affirming initiatives. Direct your genius to worthy positions and honourable endeavours. In short, be a Wizard, not a Muggle.

The great psychologist Abraham Maslow believed that healthy individuation requires resisting unhealthy enculturation. Remember that you will be tempted in many ways by “business as usual.”

But, to play your part in our global survival story, keep alive your radical inquiry, steer clear of the greenwashing and the doublespeak. Resist the Muggle enculturation—resist being branded a competitive consumer. Resist making a killing as you follow your calling.

Instead, reside in your heart’s desire for your life path. Take your soul to work, let it infuse and enlighten all your intentions. Mindful and fully present, aspire to live along your highest spiritual values.

Like the beluga whales who swim wild and free, pursue your passion true to your own nature.

And for those of you here who are beluga graduates : in 2005, I’ll be reaching out to beluga grads online, inviting you to join a “post-graduate action plan”, to help create a child-honouring society.

Together, we can turn this world around. We have that power.

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